Washington man charged with sex offensesPublished 9:06pm Monday, January 14, 2013
An alleged sex offender whose crimes date back 50 years was arrested last Friday by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
Merrill Wilson Wallace, 73, of Cedar Lane in the Rosedale neighborhood of Washington, was charged with two counts of first degree sexual offense and eight counts of indecent liberties with a minor by Lt. Jamie Cahoon.
“The older crimes came to our attention through interviews of potential victims and additional interviews with people who knew the suspect,” said Maj. Kenneth Watson, spokesman for the sheriff’s office. At this point in the investigation, five victims have been identified by the sheriff’s office, and all were juveniles when the offenses occurred, said Watson.
Wallace has been charged for the more recent crimes, but no charges have been brought against him for the oldest crimes because they are still under investigation, Watson said. Wallace can be charged with a 50-year-old crime because there is no statute of limitations on any felony in North Carolina, but a suspect can only be charged under laws that were in effect at the time the crime was committed. Finding those laws makes the process complex and will take time and research, Watson said.
Wallace was held at the Beaufort County Detention Center under a $150,000 secured bond.